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Spices and Seasons – simple,
sustainable Indian flavours
Indian is perhaps my favourite cuisine. To be honest
though, saying that one is going out for an ‘Indian’ tonight is as
ridiculous as saying one is going out for a ‘European’ tonight. Think
about the size of that country and you will realise that there
must be many cuisines with their own characteristics and flavour
palates. Add to that the slant that transplanted Indians give to the
culinary tapestry and you have a never-ending supply of dishes, old and
Rinku Bhattacharya is an Indian who now resides in the US. She is one
of a small group of Indian writers living in the States who are well
placed to introduce these new dishes to that market. The States don’t
have a history of sub-continental restaurants, so there has been a gap
in the food map. Rinku writes with the US domestic cook in mind so
every spice, vegetable and condiment will be readily available in
America and Europe.
Spices and Seasons – simple, sustainable Indian flavours is a
beautifully presented volume with a picture accompanying every recipe.
Ok, so that’s not an essential for a good cookbook but it does give a
bit of support to the novice and some inspiration to the confident. But
the most important element of the book is that the recipes are
uncomplicated and practical.
There are lots of classic Indian dishes here but Rinku interprets even
these with flair and personal nuance. Baigan Bharta is a restaurant
staple (well, in the better restaurants, anyway) of smoky roasted
aubergine (eggplant). This version has the addition of roasted tomatoes.
Many of the recipes take advantage of veggies that one might grow in
the garden. Failing that, those same vegetables will be at a good price
in the supermarket during their appropriate season. Rinku’s husband is
the gardener and evidently keeps her kitchen supplied with fresh
produce to inspire.
I have favourites from this delightful book, although I think that
there are so many temptations that the volume will spend more time in
the kitchen than on the book shelf. Roasted Spice-Rubbed Cauliflower
Wedges is a must-try and makes a delicious side dish, but the florets
could also be served as a nibble with drinks.
Egg curry might sound a strange concept to those who have a solidly
meat-based diet. It’s actually a popular dish with many Indians who are
not strictly vegetarian. Rinku offers a couple of alternatives – Creamy
Coconut Egg Curry and Egg Curry with Shallots, Potatoes and Peas.
Eggs are still a relatively economic buy, so the grocery budget won’t
take a beating.
Spices and Seasons – simple, sustainable Indian flavours is bound to be
popular with US readers, and it’s already popular with this UK-based
one. It is a great introduction to Indian food but it also offers new
departures for those who already have an extensive collection of Indian
Spices and Seasons – simple, sustainable Indian flavours
Author: Rinku Bhattacharya
Published by: Hippocrene Books Inc.